Paul Schneider is a senior at Franklin Towne Charter High with an interest in sports and writing. What better way to get started than to join our nutty club? Paul may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome back, Paul!
Mastery North 26, Mastbaum 6
At the start of the game, we had a little confusion. Mastery showed up in their blue and black uniforms, and then Mastbaum strolled onto the field with their Blue and Red uniforms and there was much confusion going on! Shortly after, both coaches agreed to play until half with the Blue on Blue jerseys and it was not all that bad. Last week in the NFL there was a game played between Cam Newton and Robert Griffin, and if I had to compare these quarterbacks to NFL players, these two would be it. Mastbaum’s Joseph Walker can beat you with his legs and with his strong arm, and Mastery North’s James Johnson has some explosiveness and an accuracy that is above average compared with other QBs I have seen. The first strike came from Mastery’s Johnson to Ala Duppins for 13-yards and the score to give them a 6-0 lead in the first. Johnson had a few bad drives until he capped off the first drive of the second quarter with a 1-yard sneak to give his team the 12-0 lead after another failed conversion. Just when you thought Mastbaum was down and out, Walker found the end zone himself on a 7-yard run which put Mastbaum back in the game and only down six points. While talking to a Mastery coach during the second quarter, I was asked, “Why is Jermaine Norris not on the top defensive player list?” Shortly after, Norris caught his 8th interception of the year. Coming out of half I thought that Mastbaum would catch Mastery North, but the total opposite happened. After a fumble at the 11-yard line for Mastery, the ball ended up finding its way into the end zone and center Christopher Batts recovered the fumble and was credited the score. On the conversion, James Johnson found Antonyo Adams on a pass to put Mastery up 20-6. Adams stayed productive the whole game. His power and speed enabled him to finish with 22 carries for 116 yards, which led all backs in the game. At the start of the fourth, James Johnson found Ala Duppins again, this time for a 1-yard touchdown and gave Mastery North the 26-6 lead and ultimately the victory. It is going to be hard to compete with James Walker next year, I believe, because the kid has raw talent, and once he is taught the correct fundamentals he has the potential to be a top Public League quarterback. Walker finished the game 10/26 for 99 yards and also ran 8 times for 60 yards and a score while Johnson threw for 9/22 127 2 touchdowns and ran for 61 yards and a score off of 8 carries. While the passing game is not up to par, both of these players remind me of Cam and RG3 by the way they can beat you with the feet. Maybe I just am a fan of the dual threat QB!
PUBLIC AAAA SEMIFINAL
Frankford 35, Northeast 15
Frankford Pioneers star Quarterback Tim DiGiorgio did not let an average first half ruin Frankford’s reign as the top team in the Public League. He also had a little help from his man in the backfield, Quinton Ellis. Frankford’s running back finished the day with 17 carries for 172 yards and three scores, oh and he caught and interception, too. After an interception return by Northeast defensive back Devon Dillard with 6:07 in the first, Frankford went on to score 35 points until Northeast scored again on their final drive. Ellis’s first score came rather late in the second quarter, after being down 7-0, Frankford’s Sharif Smith recovered a fumble which allowed Ellis to punch in a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7. Two minutes later, Ellis again scored on an 11-yard run and he also converted the two-point conversion to put Frankford up 15-7 with 1:16 seconds left in the first half. The passing game was not going well for both teams. Going into half, Daquan Bohannon, Northeast Quarteback was 0/2 with an interception, and DiGiorgio was 4/7 for 52 yards and an interception. Nineteen 19 seconds into the 4th, Ellis again found the end zone on a 41-yard burst down field to put the Pioneers ahead by a score of 21-7. Digiorgio found his groove, and three minutes after Ellis scored he found one of his favorite targets, Renz Compton, on a 35-yard bomb down field to add on to what already could have been considered a blowout. Another score by DiGiorgio came 47 seconds later, this time it was a 27-yard touchdown pass to Denzel Turbeville which gave the Pioneers their final score of the day and the 35-7 lead. With :18 seconds left in the game, Bohannon finally found the end zone for the first time the entire day on a 1-yard draw up the middle which was followed by a 2-point conversion run by David Pulliam to make the score 35-15 Frankford. Frankford then waited to see the outcome of the Washington/Central game to see who they would play for the Public League Championship. Washington went on to stomp on Central and won the game by a score of 28-0. Last year, George Washington went on to defeat Frankford by a score of 20-13 so this year will be a rematch and Frankford will look to add on to their number of Football titles over the past few decades.
PUBLIC AAAA SILVER
Southern 32, Olney 8
Southern’s star tailback, sr. Wayne Brunson, thought after his 207 yards rushing and a total of four scores that it was going to be his day . . . until a fight broke out in the fourth quarter. With Olney players being frustrated throughout the game with miscommunications and arguments with the coaching staff, tensions boiled over between an Olney defensive back and a Southern wideout following a false start by Southern. Players, family, fans, and security stormed the field after two players squared up ready to fight, and it got to the point where it was completely out of hand with coaches even losing control. Just when you thought everything was OK, coaches got into it again and that led to a whole other incident. At that time, I felt it was smart to hop on the R bus and make my way home -- exactly what I decided to do.
Getting back to what led to this incident, the first score came with 7:24 left in the 1st, when Brunson started his record-breaking day with a 42 yard score that gave Southern a 8-0 lead after a successful 2-point conversion run by sr. Eric Johnson . Olney followed up after two drives and scored with 1:45 seconds left off a pass from Tyrell Gross to Malik Allen that was also followed up by a 2-point conversion, which was a pass from Gross to Darnelle Stahlworth that made the score 8-8. Right before the end of the 1st, Brunson again broke a long run, this time a 65-yard score which fueled his record breaking performance and gave the Rams a 16-8 lead after the conversion pass from sr. Daquan Snaith to Brunson. It was worthy to note that all 6 plays the Rams had in the first were running plays to Brunson!
In the 2nd quarter, Brunson picked up right where he left off and broke another run for 39 yards, which upped his tally to 188 with 8:27 left in the 2nd quarter! After that run, he kind of slowed down, or maybe tried to catch his breath, after torching Olney’s defense for 3 times in less than 15 minutes. He picked back up late in the 2nd with his final score, which was off a pass from Snaith for 13 yards that gave him four TDs in 24 minutes. Going into half Southern led by a score of 30-8, which destroyed the confidence of the Olney Trojans.
Coming out for the 3rd quarter, you could tell Olney players just didn’t have the ambition they did before the start of the game. Southern's players were getting cocky and Olney's were getting defensive and both teams started scuffling with each other every so often. A few back-and-forth drives led to a scoreless 3rd quarter but right before the end of the quarter, Brunson had his last carry for 6 yards, which gave him Southern’s rushing record previously held by Tyrell Cooper, who had a 204-yard performance back in 2006.
After a drive by Olney resulted in a safety, Southern was given the ball with a 32-8 lead with 7:50 seconds left in the 4th, and at that time Brunson thought he was still short of the record. Three times, the offensive line was called for false starts and frustration got to Brunson, who was eager to get closer to the record he thought he'd yet to claim. That was until the two players began to scuffle and the game was wound up being called because of the fights between the teams. I must admit I felt the frustration for Brunson, who was on the verge of school history, and thought he hadn’t done it. But he had. I'd spent a summer playing AAU ball with Wayne back in the 7th grade, I have to say I was happy to see him break the record and continue on with his successful season.
PUBLIC AAAA GOLD
Frankford 27 Germantown 8
If you were a fan of the hit football series “Friday Night Lights” I think you would enjoy the sight of Frankford’s field, which was featured on the last ever episode in which Coach Taylor addressed his new team after coming from Texas. I made sure I was early so that I could see the sight, walk around, and take some personal pictures for myself. What caught me by surprise was that Frankford’s star QB Tim DiGiorgio came out of the locker room in shorts. As I was lurking around near Frankford’s bench I heard that Tim had an apparent leg injury and I overheard Tim’s father saying he may be out another week or so, so hopefully Frankford can stay in contention while he is recovering.
After seeing Tim out, I figured that Frankford would run the ball more often than they do, and rightfully so my prediction was correct. With a 30/9 run-pass ratio, Frankford’s run game carried the team with DiGiorgio out, and it showed that with 2 scores on the ground vs Germantown. The first score came off of a 14-yard run by sr #36 RB Rasheem Thompson (4 carries 21 yards TD), who split two defenders up field and drove into the end zone untouched. Frankford’s sr #55 K Kenny Appiott added the XP to give them the lead 7-0. Following the rushing score, on the next drive soph #48 DE Shareef Miller blocked a punt and returned it for 47 yards for the score to put Frankford up 14-0 (Appiott XP). Shortly after, Germantown answered with a 34-yard strike from jr #3 QB Cedric Wright to sr #8 WR Aaron Adams (2 catches 47 yards TD) to make the score 21-8 after a 2-point conversion from the same duo off of a pass. Late in the second, DiGiorgio’s replacement jr #18 QB Marquis Poston (6/9 75 yard TD INT) hit jr #13 WR Wydell Compton (3 catches 33 yards TD) on a 13-yard pass for a touchdown to give Frankford a two possession lead 21-8 (Appiott XP). Throughout the rest of the game Germantown could never recover from the early deficit that they let upon themselves and they began to crumble on the field, as well as off the field. Players seemed angry at themselves and they let it get the best of them throughout the entire second half. Frankford running back jr #24 Damion Samuels (15 carries 59 yards TD) took advantage of that late in the fourth and exploded down field off for a 35-yard rushing score to give them a 27-8 lead after Appiott’s only missed XP of the day. It’s worth noting that even despite the early woes and frustration, Germantown QB Cedric Wright (8/18 138 TD) always kept his head in the game and tried to put together long drives, but the offensive line just was not getting the job done. It’s clear to me that even though Frankford played well without DiGiorgio, they still need some more work on their offense and better hope that DiGiorgio’s knee/leg injury heals as soon as possible.
PUBLIC SILVER AAAA
Lincoln 28, Southern 6
With a scoreless first quarter, it looked to be one of those back-and-forth type games, but two players from Lincoln changed the direction of their season yesterday. On offense, sr RB #9 Dewitt Johnson broke his first 100-yard game of his career and topped that off with two touchdowns back-to-back (2 yard touchdowns) to give Lincoln the 14-0 lead after sr QB #4 Miguel Sanchez converted a 2 point conversion to jr WR/DB #22 Khalil Walker to take a 14-0 lead with 4:37 seconds left in the second. Little did Walker know he was going to have a big game ahead of him. With :37 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Walker snagged an interception off of a tipped ball and took it to the house on a 37 yard Interception return to give Lincoln a 21-0 lead after a made XP by sr K #89 Kevin Johnson. At half I had the chance to meet former Head Coach Mr. Kelly (West Philadelphia 27-40-5, Lincoln 50-43) who gave me bits of advice for my career, thanks! I have to admit that Lincoln students showed great fan support with somewhat crowded bleachers!
Going into the 3rd quarter it much was like the first, no real exciting plays, just back-and-forth until the 4th quarter started and everything became exciting again. With 11:24 left in the 4t, Southern sr RB #33 Wayne Brunson broke a long run that led to a 1-yard touchdown that gave Southern some hope. The next offensive play for Lincoln buried all the hope when Miguel Sanchez hit Khalil Walker on a 61-yard touchdown to add more to what Walker had already done in this game for his team. The catch itself is worth noting because on a bad throw, Walker completely changed his body direction to snag the ball and take it to the house to give Lincoln the 28-6 lead after the made XP. To me, Lincoln showed that they have some potential to be a competitive team when they put all the pieces together, and I think they found that their motivation and energy comes from their special team player sr Andrew Gallagher. Gallagher had not 1, not 2, but 3 huge hits for his team to give them momentum throughout the entire game. Standing only 5”8, Gallagher made hits that would make you think he was Seahawks WR Golden Tate (If you saw his hit last Sunday on Cowboy Sean Lee!) who is small but shows power of a Middle Linebacker. Needless to say I think the energy and enthusiasm Lincoln showed in this game needs to carry over to when they play Furness next week in the second divisional game. As for Southern, the team is not ready yet, but has the personnel to build a potential playoff team in the years to come.
Truman 23, Fels 20
For a game that had as many interceptions as pass completions, this matchup between Truman and Fels is one to remember for Truman’s jr RB #11 Manny Fisher. Starting off the game slow, Manny fumbled the ball playing halfback for Truman, and at first it didn’t look to be his day, but that changed later in the game. On the other hand, Fels sr RB #4 Jamiel Hines had an impressive day. On 13 carries, Hines broke a few runs for major yardage, and finished the day as Fels' leading rusher with a 140 rushing yards and a touchdown. The scoring started off in the 1st quarter with Fisher punching in a 6 yard touchdown followed by a missed extra point to give Trumann the 6-0 lead. After taking sr QB #3 Marc Prompt out and going back with former starter sr QB #9 Isaiah Brinkley, Brinkley led Fels downfield off a 53-yard pass to sr WR #84 Nadir Hudson and punched a 3 yard touchdown in himself to tie the game at 6-6 after a missed 2 point conversion. Just when you thought it was about to be halftime, Brinkley threw a prayer downfield with no time left that was intercepted by Truman jr DB #2 Dwayne Ellis and brought back for a 45-yard interception TD to give Truman the lead before half at a score of 14-6. In the third quarter, Truman jr RB #30 Jordan Livingston broke a 46-yard run to give his team the 20-6 lead. Just when I thought Fels was about to lose control of the game, Hines broke a 63-yard run downfield -- no one was within ten yards of him -- to give Fels the energy and enthusiasm they needed to ultimately keep fighting in the game. And after Prompt entered the end zone on the 2 point conversion run, Fels was down by a touchdown. Two minutes later, after a pep talk by sr RB/LB #33 Juantay Tucker, Fels sr DB/WR #22 Jylil Reeder brought back a 25 yard INT return to tie the game at 20-20. Alas, a 2 point conversion run by Hines failed and that would become a crucial part of this game. After this, Fels had the crowd, energy, enthusiasm, and “swagger” as they called it to win this game. This is where Manny Fisher comes back to the conversation. After having a fumble and not getting as many touches the rest of game and missing an extra point you could say he was having a bad day, but that all changed when the Coach called his number to kick a 30 yard FG with 0:07 left. An interception thrown by Prompt gave Truman the ball at the 20 yard line with: 7 seconds left and no time outs, a field goal had not been tried the entire game (or a XP). This left the Coach with a decision to go for a pass or a prayer, and God answered his. Manny Fisher walked out on the field, walked back a few steps, and the ball was snapped. Fisher then booted the ball, the whistles blew and Fisher was the man of the hour after hitting a 30 yard field goal to win the game 23-20 for his team.